How can our community be developed

About the growing importance of community management

Journalist and publisher Jakob Augstein said: “You have to look after a community like a garden. You always have to be there and always take care of it. And only those who are really knowledgeable know how much work there really is. "

Why community management is far from out of fashion and will become even more important in the future - our community expert Stefan Evertz talks to us about this in an interview.

Stefan Evertz, consultant for digital communication, coach and author, has been accompanying companies and organizations on their way to the social web for more than 10 years. He supports his clients in the development of sustainable digital and social media strategies, in the introduction of measures for continuous success measurement and in the development of successful community management.

Together with Vivian Pein, Stefan Evertz developed the “Community Manager” certificate course, which optimally prepares for the “Community Manager (BVCM)” examination by the Federal Association of Community Management e.V. In February, the certificate course will be held for the first time at the Leipzig School of Media.

Leipzig School of Media: What actually is a community?

Stefan Evertz: A community is always first of all a network or a group of people who have a common interest or regional bracket or who pursue a common goal. Online communities can also be purely virtual - in a forum or a Facebook group, without the members of the community ever meeting “on site”.

How does a community come about?

In order for a community to emerge and grow, it always needs people who accompany and moderate the communication in the communities, give impulses for the exchange or answer questions from the other members. The integrated community manager is a bit of the shepherd of the community and, in the case of corporate communities, the interface between community and company.

A specific division into individual roles and related tasks is very important - both for working with the corporate community and for building up and developing the team.

You mean, in order to establish sustainable and effective community management, you need a clear task profile.In your opinion, what are the tasks of a community manager?

The tasks of a community manager are very diverse and also depend on the context of the community. As a rule, this includes activating the community, e.g. B. To write articles that stimulate dialogue in the community. Moderating user contributions is also an important task for community managers. In service communities in particular, this also includes a lot of empathy and sensitivity in dealing with individual contributions and comments, e.g. B. when customers are upset. In general, the community manager is a mediator between companies / organizations on the one hand and the community (customers, fans, employees, etc.) on the other. The community manager should always be the mouthpiece of the community internally.

Do you really need a community manager for this? Isn't a community manager the same as a social media manager?

In the last ten years we have dealt intensively with the topic of social media management, because social networks represented a versatile and inexpensive way of communicating with certain target groups, especially in their early years. But we can now see how the social media feed is losing a lot of its importance, but the exchange in groups and messenger services continues to grow immensely. This also makes the topic of community management more important, because it is no longer just about attracting attention with relevant or at least entertaining content.

Building long-term relationships with one's own target groups is becoming more important again for organizations and companies. This can only be achieved through dialogue and this requires qualified community managers who understand what makes the community tick, what content it interacts with and what it really needs.

In this respect, we need community managers even more today than we did a few years ago.

Establishing and maintaining a dialogue with customers, fans and followers is what makes community management. Nevertheless, there is a lot of overlap with social media marketing. Where do the two disciplines intermesh?

There is a lot of overlap in terms of channels and content. The Community Manager interacts with the community on a daily basis, so he also knows what content is best when and how, and how to talk to the community - and also how not to deal with the community. This knowledge also helps social media marketing because it allows content to be better designed, created and planned. Ideally, there should be a regular exchange between operational community management and strategic social media marketing.

Stefan, you've been a community and social media manager yourself for a long time and you're active in the BVCM. How did you come to develop the job description “Community Manager * in”?

In general, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how diverse the tasks in the areas of social media and digital communication are. As a result, companies often take up trending terms such as “community management” and stick them as labels in new places without really knowing what is behind them. So you can find a job advertisement for a “Community Manager” even though an online and social media editor is actually being sought.

There are currently three job profiles - social media manager, community manager and corporate community manager. These were developed by the BVCM, and Vivian Pein was in charge there, in order to create more clarity as to which tasks are to be located in which area and thus also to promote standardization within the industry. Last but not least, these job profiles are intended to help companies better estimate when they need their own positions for certain tasks.

In February, the “Community Manager * in (BVCM)” certificate course will be offered for the first time at the Leipzig School of Media. You yourself will be there as a trainer. What can the course participants look forward to?

We have developed a wide range of courses in which specialists and experienced community managers will deal with all relevant aspects in six days. The trainers of the course include Vivian Pein, Heike Gallery, Falk Hedemann and me. The well-known lawyer Carsten Ulbricht takes on the legal part, which is also important in the area of ​​community management.

In addition to the basics, the participants of the course also learn how to develop a community strategy and what the special features of social, on-domain and corporate communities are. Because this area is often neglected in the everyday life of the individual community manager. He knows his individual discipline very well, but rarely has an overview of the “other” types of community - an overview that is naturally very important for the comprehensive BVCM certificate.

Furthermore, we show how the participants * find suitable content for their community and of course also illuminate the topics of crisis communication and success measurement. The aim was to put together a diverse "Community Management" package that offers comprehensive preparation for certification and also for everyday work. The feedback we have received so far shows that we are heading in the right direction.

Please give us a recommendation for a blog, a news site or a specialist magazine that you would like to use to find out more about community management.

Best of Social Media shows good and bad examples of community management every day and is therefore always worth a look. I also recommend Meedia's Trending Newsletter, which summarizes the most successful social media posts for Germany every working day. This gives you a great overview every morning of which topics are currently dominating the social media world - and often also inspiration for your own content.

A look at the website for Vivian Pein's basic work “The Social Media Manager” is also worthwhile. Even if the social media manager is in the title, the website, book and blog are also a valuable companion for community managers with numerous tips and examples - from strategy to building a community to dealing with criticism and trolls.

So that we don't just get to know you from your professional side, tell us a little quirk about you.

I collect coffee cups - not grandma's, but coffee pots, e.g. B. by companies, cities or museums. In the meantime, however, only very unusual specimens have been added because I have an almost shocking number of cups in the collection. ;-)

Stefan, thank you very much for the good interview.

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Certificate course "Community Manager * in (BVCM)"

Community development & monitoring, dialogue management, crisis communication: In the course, participants are qualified to successfully take on the tasks associated with the job description of the community manager. The optional Community Manager (BVCM) exam offers an independent seal of quality based on the knowledge and expertise of the most experienced practitioners in the German-speaking digital communication scene.

>> More about the course